4 Steps to Escape From Your Leadership Prison Cell

I recently spent time at Alcatraz…as a tourist, of course. The old federal penitentiary hasn’t housed prisoners since 1963. As a history nerd it was fascinating to walk the same halls as some of the world’s most famous criminals like Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly, and Robert Stroud, the “birdman” of Alcatraz. Some of the…

Stop Being Perfect at Work

I’ve been coaching executives for about six years now. Recently I was working with a leader who proudly identified himself as a perfectionist. He considered it a badge of honor that he routinely works ten to twelve hours each day. Even now, in his sixties, he has his company cellphone on him at all times…

Boss Is Making You Afraid? Ask Madeleine

Dear Madeleine, My boss is really tough—I would say borderline abusive. It isn’t just to me. He is awful to everyone. Because of this, I am in a constant state of anxiety and my work has definitely suffered. I was very good at my job but I know the quality has decreased because I have…

3 Ways to Help Managers and Direct Reports Collaborate to Achieve Goals

Want a more purposeful, aligned, and engaged organization? “Make sure managers and direct reports are taking a collaborative approach to performance,” says Susan Fowler, senior consulting partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies and coauthor of the company’s Self Leadership training program. “It starts with agreed-upon goals,” Fowler continues. “In my early days as a consultant,…

Your Managers May Not Be As Trusted As You Think They Are

How can an organization have a problem with low trust yet none of its leaders consider themselves untrustworthy? Sounds crazy, right? It must be possible in some sort of cosmic, twilight zone kind of way. Organizations frequently ask us to help them address low trust, yet when we work with the individual managers, none of…

The Top 5 Characteristics of Servant Leaders

In their academic paper Identifying Primary Characteristics of Servant Leadership, researchers Adam Focht and Michael Ponton share the results of a Delphi study they conducted with scholars in the field of servant leadership. A total of twelve characteristics were identified, five of which were agreed upon by all of the scholars polled. These five most…

Leadership Lessons from Sir Paul McCartney

I am one of the millions of people who has recently enjoyed a 24-minute video escape into happiness—also known as Paul McCartney Carpool Karaoke. The video is fun, it is revealing, it is touching, and it stays on your mind for days to come. That’s lovely in and of itself.  But besides Penny Lane, the…

Don’t Like a Suggested New Hire? Ask Madeleine

Dear Madeleine, I manage a large team of accountants and other kinds of finance experts. We recently posted a job for a senior budget analyst. One of the applicants is a person who was in the finance department a couple of years back. I wasn’t his boss, but I wasn’t impressed with him then and…